Glenn Maxwell smashed an unbeaten 104 as Australia pulled off a stunning chase of 223 in the third Twenty20 international against India, on Tuesday, to stay alive in the five-match T20I series with a five-wicket win.
The swashbuckling batter struck his 100 in 47 balls and completed the win with a six and three fours from the final four balls of the 20th over in Guwahati before he flies back home.
It was Maxwell’s fourth T20 century as he joined Rohit Sharma with most tons in the format and the knock eclipsed a 123 scored by Ruturaj Gaikwad earlier during India’s 222-3.
His 47-ball hundred was the joint fastest in the format for an Australian batsman alongside Aaron Finch and Josh Inglis.
Australia, who won the ODI World Cup after beating hosts India in the final earlier this month, still trail the five-match series 1-2 with the fourth T20 on Friday in Raipur.
Maxwell, in his 100th T20 international and his last of the series, struck eight fours and eight sixes and put on an unbeaten 91-run stand with skipper Matthew Wade, who hit 28.
“It was always going to take our best, and one of the best players that’s ever played T20s for Australia played his 100th game and got a hundred, so pretty special for him,” Wade said of the man of the match Maxwell.
Australia slipped to 68-3, but Maxwell, called “The Big Show” for his attacking batting, stood firm and tore into the Indian attack despite getting cramps towards the end.
Maxwell’s knock brought back memories of his match-winning 201 not out in a 50-over World Cup match against Afghanistan earlier this month when he completed a miraculous chase from 91-7.
Opener Travis Head, who made the team after his match-winning century in the ODI World Cup final, attacked along with fellow opener Aaron Hardie.
The left-handed Head smashed 35 off 18 balls but fell to fast bowler Avesh Khan and soon Australia lost three wickets before the Maxwell blitz.
The tourists have made wholesale changes to their squad midway into the series with Steve Smith and Adam Zampa back home.
“We really needed this win, and a lot of guys are heading home so a chance for the younger ones to learn how to play in India,” said Wade.
“Hopefully we can take it to the decider with another win in the next game.”
Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Inglis and Sean Abbott – all part of the group that won a record-extending sixth 50-over title – are to fly back home Wednesday.
Earlier India rode on Gaikwad’s maiden international century and his 141-run unbeaten stand with Tilak Varma to post a mammoth total, which proved insufficient.
Australia elected to bowl first and got two early wickets but Gaikwad, who hit 58 in the team’s second win, took apart the opposition bowling to raise his 100 off 52 balls.
He finished with 13 fours and seven sixes in his 57-ball blitz with Varma, who hit 31 off 24 balls, playing anchor at the other end.